Monday, February 28, 2011

Seminar weekend

My goal for deuce is to get to as many seminars as I can possibly afford while he is young and we are in full training mode. I enjoy getting him in different situations to see how he will handle it, especially because he does seem to be having a slight stress issue. The more rewarding we can make training and agility, the better and the more situations we can do it in, the better.

Saturday morning dawned way to early, with all the dogs thinking we were getting up to go to a show. They had predicted that we might get a wintry mix but in Wamego, it wasn't doing a darn thing so Deuce and I headed out. The road actually seemed wet once we got to Topeka, which I thought was a good sign, even if the temps were way below freezing. As long as the water is on the road, we are okay right? WRONG! The water hitting my windshield, that i mistakenly thought was coming from the road and other cars was actually coming from the sky and even thought it wasn't freezing on my windshield, it was everywhere else. In a way, I am glad I didn't know till I was almost there and there were wrecks every few feet. It really didn't hit me till I had to pull off and pee and I almost busted my ass walking from the car to the convenience store. Lori called to check on me and that was when I went into full fledged panic. I think the last 20 minutes lasted almost an hour and I crept about 10 mph the whole way. Then my stupid GPS took me to the wrong address and I had a break down in the parking lot of where ever it took me. Luckily, we were only a right turn away but my nerves were FRAZZLED! Luckily, everyone that attempted to come came, even if some of us were late. Other than the parking lot of ice (aptly named the parking lot of doom), got in and got started.

It was really nice because most of the dogs were young so we got to work on alot of the same issues. We had several tough sequences where Lori said we had to do them one way or another and then we tried it our way and her way. Of course as usual, her way worked the best, although I did like the sequence where i did 5 front crosses in a row LOL! We all learned so much and I for one have a ton of skills to work on. I am really jealous of those who have that building for working their dogs. While it isn't huge, the footing is nice and the chance to work at any time of the day or night regardless of weather would be SO nice. We did do a very hard sequence at the end that I did see some stress from Deuce in. The funny thing was I was trying to handle a threadle out of the weaves to a 270 that we had previously done as a 270 but this time we were only doing the first part and then pulling through to do the a-frame and I as a handler wasn't getting it. He must of read my body language or something because he decided I wasn't fun anymore and he left me for a lady that was standing watching. Got him back, told him over and over how awesome he was (he had just gotten a very hard weave pole entry several times over as I tried to figure myself out) and then got through that part successfully with lots of reward. Wish we could have done more weave drills but I learned alot from what we did. Wished we could have done that whole sequence more than just once as it was the hardest one we did, but we were out of time. All in all, learned alot, got to see some awesome young dogs figure some hard stuff out, and was very proud of Deuce's weave poles as he got all of his entries. This was very close to a show as it was a new place, the dogs were super excited and barking and whining and we waiting in a semi-sort of line so the dogs I think thought we were at a show. Add in our nerves as everyone was watching each of our runs so you got that show type feeling. Other than the very end, I was proud at how deuce handled the stress of it all. Other than the last sequence where I was screwing up, didn't see any of that running past stuff unless I didn't Q it correctly. The most important part I learned from the whole seminar is that baby sitting ANYTHING does you NO favors and it is better the keep your body language consistent but maybe make the exercise easier for the dog, not baby sit it and allow your dog to lay on that crutch.

Thank goodness by the time we got done, the roads were better and we could all go home safely. Had a fun lunch with some ladies that I don't know really well but would like to and hit the road. Still took it a little easy going home. Now of course waiting for the stupid snow to melt once again so we might be able to practice some of the things we learned. We have a show this weekend so another crack at open and another crack at figuring each other out as a team. FUN!!!!! Drug a jump in the house tonight, waiting for it to thaw out a little so I can drag it upstairs and work on some little one jump work.

Friday, February 25, 2011

reflection on a week and snow AGAIN

Just when I thought we were going to get back into the groove of things, mother nature decided to trick me. After almost a full week of gorgeous temps, seeing things grow, hearing the birds chirping louder and thinking that winter was behind us, that bitch mother nature dumped 5 inches of snow and ice on us thursday. I am still here on friday, stuck in my house because the roads are solid ice right now. Hoping they can get some salt on them so I can get in and do some work today. I don't think my boss cares that I am missing because of the snow as she knows I will make it up, but I have several weekends in a row of agility so won't be able to just come in on the weekends and work. I am hoping maybe hubby will get off early and he can take me in or maybe take me into work tonight. If i could just get a couple of hours of work done, i would feel better.

Anyway, enough of my whining! I have an agility seminar this weekend at a new place with new contacts and new surfaces. Sometimes new surfaces bother baby-D so looking forward to getting him on rubber mats to see how he handles it. We had great training all week using the treat and train and using the weave pole game to help him search out entries. I thought I had previously blogged about how this was going but the blog must have floated off in lost blog land because it isn't showing up on my blog dashboard. The weave pole game (as designed by lori) is super fun and we train entries on sets of four poles instead of my set of 12. We basically make up a course with these little sets of four and run it just like a course and baby-D loves it. You can make some funky angles, hard entries, straight on entries with lots of speed etc. You make it fun, more like a game, less like work and boy does he love it. I am seeing some seeking of entries and some low weaving like I know he can. He also started wrapping poles better, maybe because he doesn't have to worry about all 12 poles? Who knows at this point, I don't care what changed as long as we can hold on to this change. I also have been incorporating the treat and train in my training so he never knows when that might come into play. I have only been using the set of 12 to work the 10th pole pop out problem. I incorporate the treat in train in here as well because if he stays in, no matter what I am doing, he gets rewarded. If he doesn't, no biggie, back to the start, treat and train stays closed, no reward until you do it right. I have seen a HUGE improvement in our training this week, maybe because we are breaking things down, maybe because we are getting to train more, who knows. I was hoping to keep this trend going till we got dumped on yesterday:( I am dying to get back in the ring and see how things are now. This is the fun of baby dogs, try something, see if it works, re-evaluate and move on. I have been reading today another blogger's post of her journey through handling a novice male dog and let me tell you it has been refreshing to hear her journey and the pitfalls she has had. I have alot of people around me right now that all have baby dogs but for the most part are females with maturity out the ying yang and they are progressing so smoothly in their training/showing. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy for their progress and look forward to being in excellent with them someday:) It is nice to hear and see someone (she posted videos), especially someone I consider an expert, having the same problems, battling through the same training issues. Of course they aren't exactly the same, but maturity is one of the main ones and team work in the ring is another. I love when big name people are truely honest in their blog posts about what is going on, not "my dog is perfect all the time deal with it if yours isn't because I am a big name trainer and you suck." To step inside her head and her training sessions has been fun, to see inside her world has been invaluable. I have also learned alot about ETS which is a problem a few of my friends are battling through with their dogs.

All in all, I have seen some progress this week and I hope it is a trend! I do think getting to work more than once a month is helpful:) The sun is out right now so I am praying for some snow melting and quickly. Will blog more after my seminar, that is if we don't get the wintry mix that we are suppose to get tomorrow morning. I refuse to drive to KC if it is sleeting/snowing!!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

hurry up spring

I had a great weekend with Baby-d! We had open practice out at all star and then I was invited to meet with some friends at an indoor arena for some practice. Ended up working with lori on some weave issues and got tons of feedback. I am looking forward to trying some the drills she suggested. I am going to only work entries on short sets of poles (mine break into sets of 4 poles) and do more straight on weaves to work lateral distance. I am also going to set courses up with broken up weave pole sets to work more funky angles and entries in flow. He of course showed us once again he is capable of hitting entries in full collection and has skills he is choosing not to show us at the shows. I also went and practiced with a group of friends on sunday. We had a four jump, jump chute set up and then an off set jump, an off course jump and a turn back to the weaves. We tried different lead out options and one I tried was to lead all the way out to jump four before releasing him. I saw he was coming full force so I said very loudly, "deuce, easy" which caused him to knock the bar he was jumping and then blow past the weave poles like they weren't there. It was the classic stress that i see in the show. The next time I did this sequence, I didn't say anything just let him read my body and he hit the weaves like a pro. Okay so I am the problem, its obvious. Now how to fix me and the me that is present at shows. This is going to be fun:) I have learned alot about how to handle with him as he is SO different than my ultra tight, ultra sensitive to my body motion miller. I am glad I have a seminar this weekend and then two weekends of shows. I have gotten in a lot more practice this last week and if it warms up a little, hope to get some in this week as well. Right now it is sunny but cold as hell. Deuce also got to do alot of playing this weekend. He got to play with Solei on saturday and then cager and stormy on sunday. He LOVES to play and with dogs with his style of play. Solei was sure to let him know when he was being a rude boy which is exactly what he needs. He was one tired puppy after all the work/play. He is my big cuddle bug so we cuddled all afternoon yesterday and all night. He has been so concerned since I have been sick and puts his head on my chest when I cough at night like he is trying to help me. I love my baby-D!!!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

interesting training today

I hurried home after work to get some training in. It had been a beautiful day and I wanted to take advantage of it. Wanted to work that hard weave pole entry and gauge where we are at with our poles. Try to introduce wires and gates but he got super confused. He wouldn't even try to get entries when I put the wires on and if I put them on the last four poles, he would jump out. Not sure what that is about, even tried leading him through them to show him that they weren't evil electric fences set to shock him. I then tried to use a couple of gates, which he tolerated better but still got a bit confused. Then I got confused trying to figure out where to put what and where he should go. I am fairly sure I have some form of dyslexia because I have always been bad about left and right. I think I almost failed that part of kindergarten:) Anyway, I was starting to tell him uh-oh when he was right and was getting super frustrated with myself and him so had to stop. I know that we have a long way to go training wise, but it is so frustrating that he was hitting super hard entries before the snow hit and now we are almost back to square one. If the poles are at 6 and 12, I can get to about 4 almost 3.5 or 8 or 9.5 before I loose his entries. He is really having a hard time wrapping around the poles. Is this a body thing? Is this a baby thing? I know he is a stocky aussie but he can bend, I know he can. I even tried just clicking for him going in correctly to pole one and wrapping around and coming back to me after pole two. I wonder if i can transfer this to something else because he was coming all the way back to me and then got stuck in a rut and wouldn't do the whole set of poles. Ah, the fun of figuring out babies. He was also popping out at the 1oth pole again, not as bad and I tried using wires which again, freaked him out. I would like to get my lateral distance again away from him and be able to trust so that I don't have to baby sit the end of the poles. I had that or so I thought but I have lost that. Probably because I started baby sitting them at some point and he got use to that. I have to be able to work sequences and be able to move lateral to get into position so he is just going to have to get over this.

Ended with some jump work on parts of sequences we did in class and was very happy. I was proud of myself for feeling more comfortable with what we were taught and being able to implement my end of the bargain. I did grab a jump out of the yard and plan on dragging it into the house as soon as Tony goes to work in the morning. I do think I also need to get Linda's articles back out and work some more of her drills again now that he is jumping full height. I also brought the hoop out for the upside of the a-frame as he is slamming himself into the up side almost every run now. This behavior seems to slow him down on the down side and is probably why we couldn't get a true running a-frame. He was a little confused but that will take time and muscle memory to stop that problem. I really am having fun, please don't mistake my blogs for whining. These blogs are like my training logs so it is more for me to look back and see what I am working on and what I need to work on and my thoughts. I want him to be competitive so I take certain parts of his training very seriously. I look forward to open practice tomorrow so we can practice some sequences in flow and at full speed and look forward to sunday when we are getting with some other baby dog owners to work our baby dogs together. I love agility and agility friends:)

First class back of 2011

Finally had our first class of 2011. WOW is all I can say. Lori had been to a sylvia trckman (sp?) seminar and she had some really tough sequences for us to do. I broke them down for baby-D but even I as a handler was struggling with what to do when. We had a very tough weave entry in one of the runs where you basically ran perpendicular to pole 1 and then they had to wrap back to get pole 2 etc. You were coming from a tunnel at a dead run so you had to get their brain, slow them down a bit and help them with the entry. We just couldn't get it for love nor money so had to just let him hit them straight on and chalk it up to train this at home. One of the things I learned last night was deuce could do some pretty hard level stuff if he chose to. He is choosing to not use his body in a way that we know he can. Part of that is lack of training and part is lack of conditioning. Let's just say after one night of class, I have a huge list of skills we need to improve on. I will be dragging a jump into the bed room this weekend to work some one jump skills! I also need to aquaint deuce to wires or gates to help him learn muscle memory for that particular entry. That is one of the hardest weave pole entries and I know with time and practice, we can get it. I am excited to have open practice this week so I can go and practice some of the sequences we worked last night. My only fear is that we aren't really practicing what we are seeing in trials right now. Right now, in open, we are seeing huge courses with huge amounts of yardage between obstacles. It is a totally different skill than what we are working in class, and I fear that is part of the reason I have troubles. Give me a tight twisty course any day over an open run your ass off course any day. I prefer very technical hard courses but that just isn't what you see in open. I can set this up at home for sure but need to practice letting him run full out and still listen. He seems to listen when it is super tight and I can keep his head the whole time.

I do still feel like weaves are a stress issue for him in trials. He was hitting the entries with much collection in class last night, even sent him way out off of the dog walk to some poles that were set up on the far side of the field and he was hitting them. Not sure how to handle this in a show, will have to just try some things and see what happens. I know he knows what to do and now everyone in class has seen he knows what he is doing so maybe they can help me come up with ideas as to what to do in the show ring. He also did some 10th pole pop-out which indicates to me that he isnt' fully understanding that all 12 poles are his responsibility, so going to do some channel work with targets and me doing various positions to reward staying in them. Looking forward to some nice weather so i can work on some issues, just hoping i can shake this nasty cold i have had for the past two weeks. Running when you can't breathe SUCKS!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

back to training (finally)

I finally made it out to the farm yesterday to do some training. I had gone out on our way back from the show on sunday just to see how bad the field was and to get my weave poles to bring back to the house. The field is in pretty good shape, a few days of sunshine should dry it out. Decided to leave my weave poles there for the time being and actually did a few reps with Deuce after he had played in the mud puddles and was thoroughly covered. He acted like he had no clue what to do with them so we had to channel them out and just get his confidence back with big jackpots at the end. I have no clue why he has had a total regression on his weaves but it does seem like a confidence issue? Anyway, it is a training issue and I am confident we will resolve it.

Yesterday I went out with a plan of working weaves again and doing some of the elements he seemed to have trouble with at the show, namely coming in on 180s when I am front crossing and turning off of dummy jumps after three or four jumps in extension. I set up jumps in a 180 configuration and then had a dummy jump on the other side. Of course he was great, read my crosses, listened to my "here" command and if I said "Go" to take the dummy jump, he did. Hmmmmmm........Made sure since he was correct, to give him lots of high value treats for "here" and made sure he was not going past me to get his nose touch in on my hand. He was knocking the 2nd bar of the 180 occasionally, but I am not worried about that right now. Then we went to having him do two or three jumps in a row and then turning off of the dummy jump to a jump set at 90 degrees. Once again the little brat was fine, didn't even have to say turn, just stepped in and got my cross and he read it like a pro. Hmmmmm........Did some more weaves with him having to collect into the poles and he was doing that also like a pro. Hmmmmmm........In conclusion, I am guessing that the atmopshere of the trial is getting to him and that is just something he is going to have to get over and will come with experience. I am happy at this point with my warm-up routine at trials, and it is easy to tell when he is stressed with how hard he takes a treat so not concerned there. Don't think it is a stress down but maybe a stress up but when I see any signs of stress, we usually play tug or get it and he calms down. I did get some of the 10th pole pop out in practice which was good. I do think he understands entries and collection but baby brain is taking over and over-riding what he knows. I am fine with that as long as we can progress through it and not stay stuck there or regress. Will have to do some NADAC or some fun runs where we can be amped and work through this issues. I had played around with the idea of pulling him for a while but I think now that I can train again (hopefully) that we can work through these issues. Ring time will be valuable, just don't want him rehearsing bad behaviors in the ring. He seems to understand verbal corrections at this point and if he pops his poles I give him his three chances and if he doesn't want to perform the poles as one obstacle, then he is done. Not making a big deal about it, just telling him "uh-oh, no poles no play" and leaving. Will have to see if this adds ring stress or not, too soon to tell at this point. Going to keep plugging away, I know there is a great dog under there just waiting to shed his puppy brain and show us what he is made of. I am still making him hold his toes on the contacts and I am still getting some creeping on the a-frame and a little bit on his dog walk. I am going to try and race him more on the contacts because it seems like in the videos, when I stop, he stops so need to make a mental note to stay behind him and keep him moving. I am still continuing to give very high value treats at the bottom of the a-frame for his position of 2 on 2 off, will probably have to start doing that as well with his dog walk. I am looking forward to some good training weather finally and getting back to class. I know we are going to be in open for a while and I am fine with that, will use it to my full advantage as a training opportunity, good behavior rehearsing only:). I know what he can do and look forward to him showing that in the ring at trials!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

expensive practice

So i had this big long blog planned for Deuce's debut into open standard and open jww (deuce got his novice standard title this weekend). Instead here is the long and short of it. I haven't gotten to practice in almost two months and it is obvious. Deuce has forgotten how to do weaves, he has forgotten how to collect, and he has decided blowing me off is alot of fun. We had GREAT parts to every run, but we also had NIGHTMARE parts to every course. Two thoughts, baby brain and we need to train and now. Not mad, not happy, not sad, not anything other than determined. Determined to prove to the world that my puppy has been trained, that he does know what the hell he is doing and he can listen. Am ready to do whatever it takes for this to happen, even if I have to move weave poles and jumps into my bedroom. I think the babies coming up are AWESOME and I am proud to be part of this group. We all have our issues, our problems, our strengths and weaknesses, and I look forward to all competing someday soon in EX B. Here is to motivation, to improvement, to training, to no more SNOW, and to the future!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Deuce is like driving a 69 camaro, Miller is like driving a chevy truck

This is my wrap up blog for the USDAA Casa De Canine trial. Boy, do I have alot to train and alot to learn. Favorite quote of the weekend is still, "boy that dog is fast, hope she learns how to handle him". I sure hope i learn how to handle him too LOL! I have forgotten how to handle, how to finesse a dog that has power. Miller is my steady eddy (AKA my chevy truck) and his speed is determined by my speed. If i de-accelerate, so does he to the point that he can stop on a dime if i do stop(hence most of our gambler's NQ runs). I learned so much this weekend about handling deuce that it isn't funny. I LOVE the challenging courses and loved learning all the things we are lacking in skill set wise. Just when you think you know, you are brought to a different level of things you don't know! I know I said this before, but I was just getting use to handling him on AKC courses and then USDAA hit and wow, i was humbled. Not that I thought I had a chance in hell at Qing on the GP or SC courses but wow, couldn't even function to pull out a Q in the regular starter's classes except an 8 obstacle course in Pairs! I would have been happy with just some weave entries or some finishing of weave poles. I know we haven't trained in at least a month because of all the freaking snow but I really thought he had a better concept of weaves.

Okay, enough whining. The positive parts of sunday's runs were, all contacts were good, he did hit the weave pole entry in starter's standard, his jumper's run was fast and furious even if he did get an off course, and his pairs run rocked. I think it was a tie for favorite run between starter's jumpers and starter's pairs. In jumpers, I had to send him out on a pinwheel that had an off course jump staring him in the face, calling his name and he read my movement and my cross and listened and came in for a nice tight line down to a 180. I mishandled the 180 by letting him jump the first jump SUPER extended (i think he almost landed in the timer's lap) By the time he recovered and turned he was running to catch up to me as I was trying to get into position for the next front cross and ran past the jump he was suppose to take and took the next jump before I could do anything. Oh well, recovered, went on with a rear cross instead and a turn into another pin wheel, nice long line out driving like he was on fire. I still don't think he is BC class but I think he will be up there very close to them when we get our shit together. Standard on sunday was my biggest disappointment and I hope I did the right thing. It was tunnel weaves and he got the entry but about 3/4 of the way down, the tire jump started calling his name and he decided, screw weaving, I am taking that tire jump. Well, got him back re-started and got the same behavior. Decided it wasn't worth fighting with him, had attempted them three times and that was enough so we left the course. All I did was say uh-oh and then we left and i put him up for a few minutes and ignored him. Got him back out, did a few jumps, lots of cookies for listening to the momma, cookies at the crate, good boy. Of course didn't have weaves the last two classes, so not sure if it carried over and of course, we are suppose to get more snow tonight so not sure if i will be able to get the weaves this week at all and practice. I hope this works, I hope that this doesn't stress him out about the weave poles but i do not want him rehearsing this behavior in the ring. The weaves are one obstacle to be completed as a whole, tough cookie that you want to move on to something more fun. I know it isn't an excuse, but Deuce has been on nothing but 24 inch poles for several months now so while I would like to use it as an excuse, I am sure it isn't.

Overall, very pleased with the weekend, would have liked to come away with more than just one Q but i learned so much and baby-D got tons of ring time. I would like to set a goal that we will go to USDAA nationals in 2012 when he is 3 and I will work hard to attain that goal. I look forward to running him again this weekend even if it is AKC and have decided to give up some AKC trials to travel for USDAA. I love USDAA and two trials a year just doesn't cut it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

learning to fly (or is it run)

Deuce and I had a big day today. We had 5 runs, the most he has EVER done in a trial. I was very interested to see how he would handle things as USDAA trials are way more exciting and way more GO GO GO! Miller had the first run in P3 gamblers and boy was he wound tight as a tick. Ran the first dog walk and got a pounce, turned around and ran it again and got a fall off because he was barking at me. Finished the course but didn't get the gamble because as usual, he had to stop and bark at me and missed the tunnel. I am beginning to think that gamblers may be a lost cause and that I may have to give up on my plan to get his P3 overall title. He did get a snooker Q today and a jumpers Q finishing up his P3 jumper's title but this is deuce's blog so back to deuce. Deuce had gamblers, snooker, standard and steeplechase and grand prix. We started out with gamblers and again, had great contacts. I decided to hold every one and then release him so didn't get through as much of the course that I had hoped. Overall, I felt good about the run, would have liked to get more points but oh well, time is taken up when you hold contacts. Got to the gable which was very interesting, jump to either end of the tunnel and then coming out to two jumps to finish. If you sent them in the close end, they came out nicely lined up for the two jumps. If you sent them to the far end, they really had trouble going to the two jumps and usually crashed the first one or got the first one and missed the second. Deuce took the far end so he not only crashed the next jump but didn't get the third jump at all. Oh well, no big deal, got some training out of it:)

Next run was snooker and holy crap, three reds on far sides of the course and lots and lots of realestate. Not good for baby dogs in my opinion, would rather have a course where I could keep his head but I guess running full out and jumping totally extended is also a skill. I had again looked at this as a training run and wanted to work his running past obstacles skills. Got the first one and a run by a jump I didn't want (yeah) but in the process he extended full out and jumped the 3 jump and the next red at full speed, full extension. Got him back, did a four and then a blind cross to the last red. Was planning on threadling to get his head back and get a combo and then head to the closing. Well, deuce again was running full out and jumping extended so he landed almost at the wall and turned back the wrong way. I thought he read that i wanted him to land and turn to his left since i had blind crossed him and picked him up on the right side and said here, but he didn't read it and back jumped. TWEET! Done and out before we could even get the combo or the finish so another NQ. Oh well, got to work something I wanted to work and also saw how letting him run full out on snooker does not work.

Next run for Deuce was Grand Prix and a bugger of a course. Very hard weave entry right at the beginning and a discrimination that the first time you went out tunnel and the second time you came in and took the dog walk. Let's just say that he had some good parts, did a nice 180 with a turn back to the teeter, and then a nice fast line out to the tunnel then jump, chute. Steeplechase was the same way, deuce didn't want to come in for the front cross so ran around a jump (did it in grand prix to going to the a-frame). He also missed the weaves again but both entries were very hard for baby dogs. I was so confident in his weaves and his entries but now I am not so confident. He isn't even trying to find the entry and that worries me. He is also sniffing if he misses the entry and that worries me. I don't want him stressed over the weaves. He does so well in practice and in training so I am kind of miffed. I hope it is just a baby dog thing but he sure is rehearsing this behavior alot in the ring. We had great parts to both runs and that is what I am going to take away from it.

Next run was standard and it was super late. I really didn't know if he had anything left in him. Last time he had waited all day, the last run was a disaster. He had basically been in a crate from 6 till 7 that night so over 12 hours. We played alot before the run instead of doing attention work so I think that might have helped. He had the BEST run of the day, basically clean until I sent him in the wrong end of the tunnel. So close to a Q but who cares, was an awesome run with awesome contacts and attention and that is all that matters. I was so happy to end the day on a good run after some not so great runs.

Overall, I am still not happy with his weaves but maybe it is just a baby dog thing? I think I am going to blame it on that for now and hope that I can work weaves soon (that is if the snow EVER melts)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oh boy, day 1 USDAA

Oh boy is a good word for today. Just when I kind of had gotten use to mature deuce on easy AKC courses, I got to see how much a baby deuce really is, and you know what, I am okay with that. I knew the courses would be tougher but dang it, these were the toughest courses I have seen ever in USDAA and I have been to three nationals. I would have issues, even with Miller running these courses. We started with gamblers and I swear the air was electric when we started. Dogs were barking, everyone was nervous and boy did it feed into deuce. I got a grand total of 9 points! Yes, you heard me right, not a typo, 9 POINTS! Let's see, he got the 7 point dog walk and two ones and that was it. He was PSYCHO! He jumped off the dog walk the second time, ran around the tunnel, jumped off the teeter, ran around the jump, missed the weave poles and then the buzzer sounded. We had a neat gamble as in the center was a box of jumps. You could take each jump once and as you took one you got 2 points and then the next 4 and the next 6 and the next 8. You couldn't knock a bar or the gamble was over, you couldn't take an off course as the gamble would be over, and you had to get out before the buzzer sounded the second time. I love these types of gambles but because he was so psycho and not listening, he didn't get out before the buzzer so we lost our 8 points for the gamble. Major bummer. I was NOT happy with the bounced contacts and i couldn't really work stuff as i couldn't pull him, could only give him a verbal correction. It was very reminicent of our last Open FAST run for sure. The good thing was, it was a super small trial so we had to all help so I didn't really have time to sit and cry.

Next run was snooker and let me tell you, I could not find flow at all in this course. I have never looked at a snooker map and had absolutely no clue but i really didn't. Managed to put together something (thank god he sends to stuff) and manged all four reds, two fives, a six and a two. I know i said his name 50 times or more to keep his head. I made it all the way through the 4 in the closing and i think i had an oh shit moment where i was like, we might actually make it through this and miss-handled the first jump of the serp. Oh well, he listened and ran like I know he could so I was super proud.

Next was standard and oh boy, those busted contacts. Decided to stomach those nagging feelings and handle them like i normally do. Did make sure to say toes a little bit louder but still drove to the end and expected him to do toes. Got a good contact on the dog walk, a good teeter and then a stop on the a-frame with a second or so before driving very nicely to the end. We had a very tight tunnel to the weaves and he got his entrance but did about four poles and stopped. Started him again and got the same thing. Shit! Just kept on running, figured he wasn't going to do them so got an E:( Got off the course and then remembered, they have 21 or 22 inch spaced poles. I think he just couldn't find his rythm. Oh well, still had an overall good run on a tough course.

Jumpers was next and again a very twisty turny course. I did 7 front crosses and one rear. He missed his poles again, for some odd reason ran way out to a chair that was behind the weaves. No clue what that was about other than maybe we have been working out with a chair since we are snowed in constantly. Got him back, did his weaves and somewhere down the line, he ran around a jump and got the next one before i could get him back. Oh well, another E for the baby-D but overall a very nice run. Relay was last and I got yet another awesome dog walk contact and a great clean run. The funny thing was, my first obstacle was the tire jump. I knew the dog before me on that course had jumped 26 inches and I knew that tire was set too high. I went to adjust it and was told it was correct so said okay, no big deal and he ran under it. The judge blew the whistle but i continued on the course as I was sure it was set wrong and of course it was. Got the E taken off so that made me happy!

Overall, our team was the only team in the whole show not to Q but I am totally fine with that. We had three baby dogs that ran their butts off and tried really hard and that is all that matters. I am so proud of him for coming back and getting his contacts and listening after the horrific run in gamblers. I just have to remember to design a course with lots of tight and have his head and not so much GO GO GO! I was really surprised, thought with his distance skills that gamblers would be his class so interested to see how he handles starters tomorrow. I am also a little concerned because he measured 21 inches today. He has never measured that high ever. I hope we don't get that measurement ever again:) Signing off now to get some sleep. Didn't sleep much last night and have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow to get there on time.